Health psychology is a specialty area that focuses on how biological, psychological,behavioral, and social factors influence health and illness.
Recent advances in psychological, medical, and physiological research have led to a new way of thinking about health and illness. This conceptualization, which has been labeled the biopsychosocial model, views health and illness as the product of a combination of factors including biological characteristics (e.g. genetic predisposition), behavioral factors (e.g. lifestyle, stress, health beliefs), and social conditions (e.g. cultural influences, family relationships, social support).
While health psychologists engage in a wide variety of activities, the following are just a few of the areas they address and treat:
- Stress reduction
- Weight management
- Smoking cessation
- Improving daily nutrition
- Adjustment to chronic Illness
- Pain management
- Grief counseling for terminal patients